Saturday, 08 August, 2020

“US cannot dictate what India should do on Iranian port”

India’s Ambassador to Tehran Gaddam Dharmendra has reiterated that New Delhi would not be dictated by the US how it should cooperate with Iran on a key port located southeast of the country.

In video remarks that emerged on Friday, Dharmendra rejected claims that US pressure had dissuaded India from continuing work in Chabahar, Iran’s only ocean port where large-scale development operations have taken place in recent years to turn the place into a major trade hub in the region.  

“The fact [is] that we are working in Chabahar, we are buying equipment for Chabahar, we are preparing for Chabahar, we have told the Americans they cannot tell us what to do on Chabahar,” said Dharmendra, according to a transcription provided by the Hindustan Times.

The remarks, apparently made in an interview with Iranian English newspaper Tehran Times in mid-July, is the strongest to come in recent months from an Indian official regarding the country’s determination to stick  to its pledges about Chabahar.

India is part of a trilateral agreement with Iran and Afghanistan to develop Chabahar as the port can hugely transform trade through Iran between India and Afghanistan and other landlocked countries in the Central Asia region.

India has gained a waiver from US sanctions on Iran over the specific work in Chabahar. However, Indian government agencies and companies have failed to meet some of their obligations regarding the construction of a railway connecting the port to areas near the Iranian border with Afghanistan.

However, recent reports have suggested the Indians are determined to go on with plans to bring heavy equipment and investment to Chabahar to accelerate the development work.

Iran’s port authority said earlier this week that heavy equipment ordered by India for Chabahar would arrive in the port in the upcoming months.

Dharmendra had suggested in his July interview with Tehran Times that a first delivery for the equipment, including heavy cranes ordered from Italy, Finland Germany and China, would take place in October.

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